Waukee’s Kayla Kuethe finished fourth in the Class 2A state singles competition last week, the best finish in school history for any tennis player.
Kuethe nabbed victories in her first two matches, beating Clinton’s Rubina Vidal 6-2, 6-0 and topping Pleasant Valley’s Katie Melbourne in three sets, 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.
She was turned away in the semifinals against eventual singles champ Jaci Cochrane of Fort Dodge, 6-0, 6-1, and fell in the third-place match to Johnston’s Liera Bender, 6-3, 6-2.
"Kayla played very consistent over the course of the two days," coach Chad Jilek said. "We put her up for the No. 4 seed and she didn’t get that, but by finishing fourth she proved that she could have been."
Kuethe, who finished the season with an 18-5 record, won a regional championship to qualify for her third state tournament.
"Making it as a freshman was probably not expected, but these last two years it was," Jilek said. "This year she felt very comfortable and liked her draw, so she also felt very confident."
Her consistent swing and steady approach have led to a plethora of victories over the past three seasons, and have her primed for a strong senior campaign.
"You see many of the area No. 1s show a lot of emotion when they are playing well and when they aren’t, and that can be a big detriment to their game," Jilek said. "Kayla is even keel. You would never know if she won 6-0 or 0-6."